There are countless reasons why dancing (in any form) is something you should have in your life. But there is something special about Zouk – something that captivates the soul. So, here are 6 reasons you should dance Zouk:
1. The Music.
It can be everything from hypnotic to hip-hop, trance to lyrical. No matter what your flavour, you can connect to the music. I will never forget the first time that I walked into a Zouk social – it was a whole different world from the Salsa/Bachata flavours I had experienced before. There is something primal in the Zouk rhythm; something that grabs you, pulls you in, and won’t let go. The feeling burns into your veins and relaxes your mind. It is a music you can completely surrender to.
2. The People
Every dance community feels that their genre’s community is the greatest, and every community deserves to feel that way. But, for me, the bonds I have created through Zouk are rarely rivaled. Especially in North America, the Zouk community is very small and very close. There’s drama, sure, and some groups who don’t play nice with others, but on a whole the people who social dance Zouk are open in so many ways. They open their homes and their hearts, taking in people who they barely know in real life for a weekend or a week. They drive each other home late at night, and check to make sure everyone has a way home after a long night. And, above all, they are passionate. Passionate in dance, as they are in life. Hungry to learn, and hungry for new experiences. I hope they always remain this way: committed to growth in dance and in life.
3. The Flow.
Every dance has its own unique flavour, and each is distinctly different. However, the pulsating flow in Zouk is unlike any other dance. Even Kizomba, which shares similar music, cannot hope to capture the flowing sensuality and grace of Zouk. It is a dance of expression, of passion, and of openness to the world. The movements of Zouk tell a story: there is a proneness in the tilted movements, and a trust that your partner will be there for you at all times. For many dancers, the flow is the single most addictive part of Zouk dancing.
4. The Creativity
Zouk can be an extremely unstructured dance form. With its roots touching multiple styles, including contemporary, Zouk is open to a large amount of contact improvisation. There is no ‘beat’ that must always be followed; dancers are free to speed or slow the dance to whatever tempo they feel inspired to match.
The willingness of DJ’s to manipulate and create Zouk songs from multiple genres means that the range of emotion and feeling Zouk can portray is almost limitless! Even better: many non-Zouk songs are still perfectly capable of being used to create amazing Zouk dances. For the creative, Zouk provides an ideal mixture of movement, athleticism, creativity, and improvisation in dance.
5. The Connection
Most dances work from an upright position, with the connection never tilting into a sideways “3rd dimension”. They may be great connections, but those dances lack the entire body connection of Zouk. Even dances that connect through the body, like Tango and Kizomba, do not often take advantage of that other dimension. In Zouk, the body connection demands that you follow your partner in whatever direction. It is fluid, but solid; holds you close, but creates distance when necessary. I can think of no other dance where I feel so taken care of by the lead, yet still so free to express my own body.
6. It’s good for you
This one is not exclusive to Zouk, but some benefits of social dancing may be emphasized by the athletic nature of this dance. In Zouk, the tilted nature of many of the movements demands a greater engagement of the core, balance and orientation. Our dips, drops and cambre’s similarly demand core and leg strength. Many of the common Zouk social movements cannot be executed with a base amount of athleticism. For newcomers into the dance, repeated exposure to these movements can build core, balance, and leg strength quite seriously.
What are some of the reasons you dance Zouk? Leave your comments below.